Ireland votes to back marriage equality in landmark referendum.

Irish Voters Overwhelmingly Back Marriage Equality

Irish Voters Overwhelmingly Back Marriage Equality

The Slatest
Your News Companion
May 23 2015 10:50 AM

It’s a Yes: Irish Voters Overwhelmingly Back Marriage Equality

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Supporters in favor of same-sex marriage pose for a photograph as thousands gather in Dublin Castle square awaiting the referendum vote outcome on May 23, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland.

Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Update at 2:55 p.m.: The vote has been counted and 62.1 percent cast their ballots in favour of equality with 60.5 percent of 3.2 million eligible voters participating in Friday's referendum. In Dublin, as many as 73 percent of voters in certain areas cast their ballot to support marriage equality, according to the Irish Times.

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Drag queen artist and Yes campaign activist, Panti Bliss joins supporters in favor of same-sex marriage celebrate and cheer as thousands gather in Dublin Castle square awaiting the referendum vote outcome on May 23, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland.

Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Original post: Ireland looks on-track to become the first country to legalize marriage for same-sex couples via a popular vote. Although full results are not in, all signs point to voters backing the referendum by a wide margin in the traditionally Catholic country. The only question now is how big that victory will actually be as both government ministers and prominent anti-equality campaigners have both acknowledged the referendum will pass, reports the BBC. Analysts are predicting the “yes” vote will likely receive more than 60 percent support, notes the Associated Press. Some are predicting support in Dublin will reach as high as 75 percent.

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The count gets underway as the ballot boxes are opened at the RDS count centre on May 23, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland.

Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

The news that equality would win out was widely expected, particularly because of the number of people who went to cast a ballot. Irish national broadcaster RTE said on Friday that it appeared to be one of the highest ever turnouts for a referendum in the country, according to Reuters.  

Government officials did not wait for the official results to celebrate the news. Minister for Health Leao Varadkar, who came out as the country’s first gay minister earlier this year, said the vote turns Ireland into a “beacon of light” for the world, reports the Irish Times. Minister for Equality Aodhan O Riordain said on Twitter: “I'm calling it. Key boxes opened. It’s a yes. And a landslide across Dublin. And I’m so proud to be Irish today.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.